Uniting for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Publication date: November 24, 2023
On 25 November, the world observes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marking the beginning of the UNiTE campaign – 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. This campaign aims to raise awareness and promote advocacy for ending violence against women and girls worldwide. Violence against women is a pervasive issue, encompassing various forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and even digital violence. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of recognising digital violence, its impact, and how initiatives like EU Code Week play a role in promoting safety and gender equality.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a global problem and a human rights violation that persists due to underreporting, silence, stigma, and shame. It takes on many forms, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and child marriage. The UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defines it as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women.” The consequences of VAWG affect women throughout their lives, hindering their access to education, employment, and overall well-being.
The digital dimension of violence
Digital violence, a maybe lesser known but equally impactful form of violence, involves harmful actions that occur online. This can include cyberbullying, online harassment, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, and other malicious activities conducted on digital platforms. Sadly, 85% of women worldwide have experienced or witnessed digital violence against other women, according to UN statistics.
Digital violence is a concern that intersects with our increasingly connected world. Social media, messaging apps, and the broader internet can be platforms for both positive and negative interactions. Perpetrators of digital violence often exploit these technologies to target and harm women, causing emotional and psychological distress.
EU Code Week’s Role
EU Code Week may seem unrelated to the elimination of violence against women, but it does play a role in addressing digital violence and promoting online safety. In fact, as part of its mission, EU Code Week seeks to attract and engage girls and women in coding and technology. By creating an inclusive environment where everyone can participate in the digital world, initiatives like this help empower women and girls to protect themselves from digital violence. In the pursuit of a safer digital space for women and girls, we must not forget the importance of raising a generation that values empathy and respect. Undoubtedly, prevention is a start, but true change lies in addressing the societal factors that contribute to such behaviors.
EU Code Week’s podcast on Cybersecurity offers valuable advice for staying safe online. Moreover, the podcast covers essential topics such as online privacy, secure passwords, recognising and reporting cyberbullying, and fostering a supportive online community. Knowledge and awareness are key tools in the fight against digital violence, nevertheless, we need to invest in both prevention measures and initiatives that address the societal origins of digital violence The EU Code Week website also has a training course on Coding for Inclusion that aims to create inclusive and safe digital spaces for all.
UNiTE! Activism to end violence against women & girls
The 16 days of activism campaign is an opportunity for everyone to become activists in preventing violence against women and supporting feminist movements. It calls for a world free from violence against women and girls and seeks to eliminate the backlash against women’s rights. UN Women organises various events, including the UN official event, to promote these goals.
By recognising digital violence as a form of violence against women and engaging in initiatives like EU Code Week and UNiTE, we can unite to create a safer online environment and work towards a world where women and girls can live free from all forms of violence.